The recent auction of a Playboy centerfold smuggled aboard Apollo 12's spaceflight to the moon raises a potentially sticky question for NASA... has anyone masturbated in space?
NASA, predictably, has remained mum on the subject. But according to a blog published by the Houston Chronicle, Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins wrote in a book that:
"One doctor advised regular masturbation, advice [Skylab crew member] Joe [Kerwin] ignored."
If NASA doctors were advising it, then it's likely someone other than Joe Kerwin followed doctor's orders. And, um... how exactly did Collins verify Kerwin's story?
According to space habitat architect Constance Adams, erections are difficult to achieve in zero gravity because "blood tends to collect in the head and feet." But ask any guy who's been in the freezing cold ocean when a rogue wave pops some sunbunny's top off, and they'll tell you that "difficult" and "impossible" are not the same thing.
And that doesn't rule out female masturbation. Women may not be as horny as men, but Sally Ride had to at least be curious.
As Drew Magary of the sports/whimsy website Deadspin wrote this week, "If you have a confined space to yourself, THAT IS ACCEPTABLE JERKING SPACE."
In any case, its likely that even if Apollo 12 crew member Richard Gordon didn't spend his alone time in the orbiting command module playing the pink trombone, at some point in the 42 years Gordon has possessed the picture, he or another male member of his family probably stretched the skin slinky to it.
In that case, whoever bids $1000 or more on this thing is buying used merchandise. Moon dust might not be the only residue to come up under a microscope.
Just something for collectors to consider.